The Family Job
Summary: The Master pulled Buffy through the skylight with him. She was sent through time and space to the world of Leverage. There she met the team. Only problem? She was 10 years old.
Timeline: Season 1 for both. Had to futz with the years to make them match up.
Warning: Humorous language and violence. Could be disturbing coming from a 10 year old. Mild hints of possible abuse.
A/N: Making some canon changes to Joyce and Hank…I'm pretty sure. Also, Buffy has her memories up to her de-age of 10, but still retains her abilities as a Slayer – at least the knowledge of fighting, if not all the strength and speed.
Challenge: #4917 'Help I've been De-aged!' by EvaMcGregor
**OK, i love this idea.
Take any canon character and de-age them to an age between 2 and 16. for some reason have them in a situation where someone of their own fandom can't take care of them, or that a canon character has to take them and move away.
no Wish to get them to another fandom, there are better ways for this to happen.
no relatives taking care of the de-aged person even from another fandom. i would prefer if who ever takes care of the de-aged person is not related to anyone outside of canon relation.(ie: Winchester brothers, Danny and Lindsey Messier -marrie...(more)**
Thanks to my betas: AshDawnSoulmates and zigpal.
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Leverage characters belong to John Rogers, Chris Downey, and TNT. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
Chapter 1: Mommy Parker
Sunnydale High School
Giles watched in horror as he saw his Slayer being pulled through the skylight with the Master. She may have won this battle, but at what price? The Master's body disintegrated, leaving only the skeleton.
Before anyone could move, the energies from the Hellmouth started arcing out the second Buffy's body went through, in a black lightning kind of way. As it did, the streaks battered the skeleton until all that was left was a pile of dust, which got sucked in to the Hellmouth prior to it closing back up.
The world was saved. However, it cost them their friend and hero, Buffy Summers – who would become just another statistic in Sunnydale's crime files.
"What's the problem, Hardison?" Nate shouted out when he met his team in front of the building where their headquarters was located. A signal automatically called them all to come there as soon as possible.
Hardison was looking at his laptop, a look of confusion marring his features. "The internal sensors show that we have an intruder, but none of the external sensors have been tripped."
Eliot looked up at the building for answers, but asked, "Is that possible?"
The computer wiz shook his head, "Shouldn't be. I designed this so Parker couldn't get in without setting it off."
Nate looked around at the team; only Sophie hadn't gotten there yet. "Eliot, You lead. Hardison, see if you can bring up the cameras. Maybe we can see who it is."
"Whoever it is, they're in Parker's office. I can only make out a shape," Hardison informed the others.
Parker didn't like the sound of that. She had some stuff in there she didn't want anyone finding – especially a stranger. "What?!" She yelled before taking off, pushing past Eliot.
Sighing at the blonde's impetuousness, Nate ordered, "Eliot, hurry up and see if you can catch her." He, Hardison and the newly-arrived Sophie followed right behind them up the stairs.
Parker got in the room first and attacked the shape near her plant. She was surprised when the person – who was much smaller than she expected…midget? Creepy! – simply tossed her away. Then Eliot tried to trap the person from behind and paid for that tactic with any future children he might have fathered. The figure ran from the office, down the hall.
Nate and Sophie walked right past after the person ducked into the break room and hid behind the garbage can. Hardison was the first to find her since he had been tracking her movements on his system. He flipped the lights on and was shocked to discover a little girl.
Hardison squatted to get on eye level with the small child. "Hey there, cutie. Did you get lost or something? How did you get in here?" he inquired gently. He didn't want to scare the girl. She already looked terrified.
Her eyes welled up with tears, but she still answered through her sniffles, "I don't know. I just woke up on the floor, and I wanna go home!"
"Can you tell me your name?" Hardison asked, holding out his hand to help her up.
Buffy thought for a moment. She studied him intensely, making him feel a little unnerved. Apparently, she liked what she saw and smiled shyly before telling him, "Elizabeth Anne, but everyone calls me Buffy – 'cept Daddy when he's really mad."
Hardison seemed pleased she could trust him. But then again, he was probably the most naturally likeable member of the team, even if nobody saw it – including him. "Alright then, Buffy. Do you want something to drink? We got lots of orange soda."
The little blonde's eyes lit up in excitement. Her mommy and daddy never let her drink soda at night! "Really? And I can have some? Thank you!" she exclaimed and gave him a giant hug.
His heart melted with the girl's actions. "Oh, you are just too adorable! Now, I've got to tell the others that you're here or they might hurt you; 'cause we thought somebody broke in," he hurried to clarify. He didn't want her to be scared.
But she still looked worried. Her next question explained why, "Am I gonna get in trouble for the two I hurt?"
"Which two?" he wondered. Intellectually, he figured that it had to be Parker and Eliot, but he just couldn't see this little pixie being able to hurt either of those two.
Buffy's head tilted so she was staring at the floor, biting her lower lip. Hardison thought it was the cutest thing he ever saw. "The two that grabbed me. I pushed the first one away, and hit the other one in the bad place," she explained, looking like she was going to cry again.
Hardison clamped his hand over his face, stifling his laughter. The 'bad place' could only refer to a certain part of Eliot's anatomy. He couldn't wait to pull that up on the cameras! "I'll make sure they understand you didn't mean it," he reassured the worried youngster.
The blinding smile she gave him told the self-proclaimed geek that he was able to make her feel better. "I like you. What's your name?" she demanded as only a child could and not sound incredibly rude.
"Alec Hardison, but you can call me Hardison. You just take a seat and I'll be back in a few minutes, 'k?" he checked as he made his way to the hallway.
Buffy nodded, then turned all her attention on the soda in front of her, "Uh-huh."
Back in Parker's office
"I found the intruder. She's in the break room," Hardison announced to the others when he got to Parker's office. Sophie and Nate were trying to help the slightly injured Parker and Eliot.
Catching everyone off guard with the question she chose, Parker asked, "Is she a midget?"
Eliot stood and started for the door. "You left her alone? What if she took off?" he growled, still wincing from the pain of being hit there.
Hardison was just having too much fun with his information and prolonged releasing it. "I wouldn't worry about it; she's finishing her orange soda."
That made the team leader glare at him. "You're giving the person who broke into our headquarters refreshments?" Nate almost yelled.
Misreading the soft smile on Hardison's face, Sophie guessed, "She must be very beautiful."
"Well, she did say she liked me," Hardison offered, after thinking about it for a moment.
Hardison finished his earlier statement as he walked casually into the room after everyone else, "…And she's a kid."
Tying to wipe away the headache that was forming, Nate said quietly, "You couldn't have mentioned that before?"
"And miss the look on Eliot's face when he saw who took him out? Not a chance!" Hardison declared gleefully.
Buffy looked up at the group and guessed which one was the man she hit in the bad place. "I'm really sorry, Mr. Eliot. You just scared me and I--" she started crying, afraid that she was in big trouble now.
"Great," Eliot muttered. He managed to make a girl cry and he didn't even break her heart. He gave her his best smile and praised her, "Hey, don't worry about it, kid. It's actually pretty impressive that you were able to do that."
Parker just squinted at Buffy and demanded, "What were you doing in my office?"
Shooting the older blonde a reproving look, Sophie tried the softer approach. "What's your name, little girl?" she inquired with her most charming smile.
But Buffy's eyes narrowed at her. "Elizabeth," she replied simply before turning to Parker so she could answer, "I don't know; I was just checking the place out and liked that room the best so far. You have lots of cool stuff. Can you show me some of it?"
"First, we need to figure out how you got in here," Nate declared to get everyone focused again.
"I already told Hardison I didn't know. I'm not lying!" Nate tried to get closer to her, but she backed into Parker's arms. "Stay away! You smell like Daddy and Mommy!" she whimpered.
Hardison leaned into Nate, whispering, "I think she smells the alcohol on your breath. There's something fishy going on with her; she said something earlier about what happened when her dad got really angry." He didn't say anything about Buffy's name, thinking the little girl might have a reason for not telling them the same thing she told him.
Sophie's eyes turned a mixture of angry and sad. "Are you thinking she was abused?" she whispered back.
"I don't know. Maybe she can hang with Parker while we check her out," Hardison suggested, seeing how comfortable Buffy looked with the crazy thief – something that shocked and scared everyone. Except Hardison, that is; he just got a goofy grin on his face at the sight.
"Alright. Parker? Why don't you show Elizabeth your office. Please keep the criminal training to a minimum," Nate requested, remembering the time when another little girl visited their offices and Parker taught her how to pick a lock.
Parker's office again
"You can call me Buffy. You're nice like Hardison. Do you think Mr. Eliot will forgive me for hurting him in the no-no place? 'Cause he's really cute, and I don't want him to hate me," Buffy babbled as Parker showed her some of the repelling harnesses she created.
"It's just Eliot," Parker corrected. "Not sure, but I think it should be okay. He likes to fight, so he probably understands. Why do you like me? People like Sophie, not me," the blonde thief inquired.
Buffy thought about how to explain it, then she said, "'Cause you're not fake nice like that other lady."
Hardison popped his head in the door to ask, "Hey, Buffy? Can I take your picture and get your last name? Or do you know your home address and phone number?" he questioned hopefully. She seemed like a bright kid; maybe they'd get lucky.
She put her hand to her head and checked, "Is my hair okay? I don't want my picture taken if I look bad." Then she gave him as much information as she could think of. "My last name is Summers. I live at 2658 Weston Drive in Glendale. Our number is 555-1993. My parents' names are Hank and Joyce. Can you tell them it isn't my fault? Please?" she pleaded, not wanting to get in trouble.
He typed in the information as she spouted it, then reassured her that he'd take care of her parents. No kid should be that scared of her own folks. Something was definitely wrong here.
After he left, Buffy turned back to Parker. "Can I braid your hair? I wish Mr. Gordo was here," she said sadly.
Unsure of what to do, Parker sat down next to Buffy, who immediately started in on her hair. "Who's Mr. Gordo?" she asked, thinking the more intel she could get, the better.
Buffy worked intently on the older woman's hair as she confided, "He's my stuffed pig. He always makes me feel better when I get scared."
Parker smiled at Buffy's confession. They were like kindred spirits. "Can you keep a secret?" Buffy nodded enthusiastically. "I have a stuffed bunny who does the same thing for me."
"Is he here?" Buffy asked hopefully.
"Nah. He's at my place. Tell you what, if we can't get a hold of your folks right away, I'll get Bunny for you," Parker promised. Normally, she wasn't this at ease with other people, but something about this girl made her feel like a regular person. It was both cool and scary.
Buffy gave her a grateful smile and replied, "Thank you, Miss Parker."
Completely out of character for her, Parker gave the little kid a quick hug. "Parker's good."
"Umm, Parker? Is Eliot your boyfriend? Or Hardison?" Buffy attempted to get an idea about the people who most interested her. Hardison was cool, and Eliot was mega cute. She wondered if she was older, if he would date her.
"I don't do too good with other people," was Parker's non-answer.
Buffy disagreed, "I think Hardison likes you. Does Eliot have a girlfriend? I hope not, 'cause he's super cute!" she gushed.
Parker was startled by Buffy's confident comment. "Really? You think Hardison likes me?" She wasn't sure how she felt about that.
"Uh-huh. He looks at you all funny like my babysitter's boyfriend looks at her," Buffy responded knowingly.
"Hmm. We could ask Eliot if he has a girlfriend, but he might be a little old for you," Parker tacked on, not wanting Buffy to get hurt. Then she shook her head at how protective she was acting. This just wasn't like her!
Buffy refused to give up so easily, though. "But maybe when I'm older?"
Parker couldn't help but laugh. Then she remembered how easily Buffy defended herself earlier and replied, "The way you fight? No doubt."
Eliot looked pissed when they disconnected the call to the Summers' house. "How the hell are we supposed to tell the kid her parents never heard of her?" he yelled.
Nate's headache was steadily getting worse. "Could she be wrong?" he asked Hardison.
The computer tech shook his head. "She spouted off her information like she memorized it."
"Maybe the parents are lying," Sophie suggested, feeling sick at the thought.
Hardison looked like he had been sucker-punched. "Why? She's such a cute kid; who would lie about her being theirs?"
"Some people can be bastards," Eliot stated simply.
Shaking his head, Nate disagreed, "No. It'd be too easy to prove she is. Hardison, pull up the surveillance footage from when she first tripped the internal alarms."
After watching and re-watching the footage several times, Hardison turned to the others and demanded, "What the hell was that?"
"I don't know. I've never seen anything like that before," Nate answered, wishing for a large tumbler of anything right about now.
Eliot smirked, thinking of their question when they first got there that night. "It would explain why the external alarms weren't tripped," he pointed out the obvious.
Sophie put the unusual way the girl arrived aside for the moment to inquire, "So what do we do with her now?"
Nate sighed, "The only thing we can do: hand her over to child services."
Back to Parker's office once again
Nate explained the situation to Parker and that they would be turning Buffy into the officials and let them deal with her.
The slightly psychotic blonde looked at the little girl, then remembered foster care and group homes. "No way!" she declared, not wanting that kind of life for Buffy.
Pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration, Nate tried to reason with her, "Parker, you don't understand. She came from nowhere and the people she claimed were her parents don't know about her."
But she wasn't having anything to do with it. "You don't understand! She thinks I'm nice!" Parker exclaimed.
Eliot was – to say the least – shocked by this news. But he could kind of see that the crazy chick had a way with kids. "That's great, Parker, but it doesn't change the fact that she needs somebody to take care of her," he pointed out kindly.
Parker thought for barely a second, then announced, "I'll do it."
Sharing a concerned look with Nate, Sophie kneeled down next to her and questioned as nicely as she could, "You? Are you sure that's a wise idea?"
"You're just jealous 'cause she likes me better!" Parker growled back, clearly defensive.
"Parker, you can't do it," the group leader tried again, hoping she would see reason.
However, Parker just felt a kinship with the younger blonde that wouldn't be swayed. "Sure I can. Hardison can fake the paperwork to say she's my kid," she replied, looking at the computer geek for help.
Nate lost his temper and barked out, "She's not a puppy, Parker!"
At this point, Buffy stopped pretending like she was asleep. She sat up and growled at the drunk guy, "She's also in the room and not deaf, mister."
Hardison sighed. They really should have taken this into another room. "How much did you hear, Buffy?" he inquired.
Sophie couldn't help but blurt out, "Buffy? I thought she said her name was Elizabeth?"
Buffy gave her a very pointed look before clarifying, "It is Elizabeth, but my friends can call me Buffy."
"What did you hear?" Parker asked the question again to get them off the name subject.
"Everything. I was only resting my eyes. Can I really stay with you? I won't be any trouble," Buffy promised with her best 'I'll be good' expression. This was better than having to go home to her mommy and daddy.
Nate took a deep breath, then tried to explain, "Parker isn't very good with people, Buffy."
Buffy narrowed her eyes at him, not liking the way he was talking about her friend. Not to mention the fact that he assumed he could use that name with her. "Elizabeth. I don't like you. She's good with me. That's all that matters. Besides, Hardison and Eliot like her," she said confidently.
"What makes you think Nate and I don't like her?" Sophie inquired. She was a little put out because the little girl liked Parker of all people, not her. That was just wrong on so many levels.
Thinking about it for a minute, Buffy conceded, "Maybe you do, but you think you're better than her – just 'cause she's not as good as being fakey as you."
"I don't like her," Eliot felt required to point out.
Buffy only grinned at him. He just wasn't willing to admit it yet. "Sure you do. You wanted to protect her earlier."
Eliot snorted and replied dismissively, "That's just because we work together."
She sing-songed back, "I don't think so. So, can you help us, Hardison? Please!" Buffy pleaded with her best pout and puppy eyes. Parker looked at her and copied the expression – much to the amusement of the others. Hardison just appeared stunned by the twin images, and found himself agreeing.
Turning aside, Eliot whispered to Nate, "Man, he's a goner. If they ever decide to team up on him, there's no telling what he would agree to."
Buffy heard what Eliot said and started plotting to get Parker and Hardison together. She bet they would make a nicer mommy and daddy than her parents were.
A/N: I may consider doing a follow-up of Buffy's plan being put into action – if there's interest.